A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

So What Is It With Bands And Producers Not Liking Each Other After An Album Explodes?

What is it with artist’s dishing out hate on a producer that was involved in producing their greatest triumph?

A good producer is meant to be tough and opinionated. They are meant to challenge the artist, so that the artist delivers the goods. Look at what Bob Rock did to Kirk Hammet in Metallica, especially around “The Unforgiven” solo piece. If you look at Kirk’s legacy that will be the solo that he will be remembered by. I remember in the “Classic Albums” documentary of the “Black” album, as well as in the video, “A Year and A Half With Metallica”, Bob Rock said something similar like, “it is a great song and it needs a great lead. What Kirk is playing at the moment is not great. He has to live and breathe this solo.”

Bob Rock got the guys to slow down the tempo on “Sad But True” and detune everything down a whole step. He told Lars Ulrich to take drum lessons before he started to record his parts. Which producer does that? Lars Ulrich is coming off 4 definitive thrash albums and there is Bob Rock telling him to take drum lessons. He questioned James on his lyrics and his melodies, something that hasn’t been done before. He recommended vocal lessons as well to the formidable front man.

Lars even said that once the Black album was finished, he couldn’t talk or see Bob Rock for over 12 months. Bob Rock has even gone on record saying that it was a tough album to make. The end result is every bands dream coming true. The biggest selling album of the SOUNDSCAN era with a total of 16 million sales as at December 2012. The Black album still to this day moves 2,000 units per week in the U.S. A a lot of websites pointed out that it outsold, Megadeth’s new album “Supercollider”.

As much as Nikki Sixx dishes on Tom Werman, the facts are out there. With Tom Werman, Motley Crue had three multi-platinum albums in “Shout At The Devil”, “Theatre of Pain” and “Girls, Girls, Girls”. Each album has sold 4 million copies plus in the U.S. That is a total of 12 million plus sales in the U.S market. Furthermore, the bulk of the “Decade Of Decadence” album is made up of songs from these albums, and that album also sold over 2 million copies in the U.S. In addition, the “Music To Crash Your Car” box sets also had the three albums produced by Tom Werman on them.

If all the stories about the drug use from the Motley Crue members are to be believed, then Tom Werman deserves special recognition for getting anything musical onto tape.

Dee Snider also doesn’t have many kind words for Tom Werman. If anyone has read Dee’s bio, “Shut Up and Give Me The Mic,” you can connect the dots and come to a conclusion that Dee is also blaming Tom Werman for the failure of Twisted Sister’s next album even though Tom Werman never worked on it. The routine used to be that Dee Snider would be working on songs for the next album, while the current album is being mixed.

According to Dee, in his bio “Shut Up and Give Me The Mic” due to Werman being difficult to work with and Mark Mendoza doing his best to sabotage everything that Dee was working on, he couldn’t take the time out from the studio to work on songs for the next album. So when it came time to write the songs for Come Out And Play after the hugely successful “Stay Hungry” tour, Dee’s mindset was in a different place. He had money, he had fame, he had success and he didn’t have the same hunger, anger and motivation that he had during the Stay Hungry recording. If he wrote the songs during the “Stay Hungry” sessions, the output could have been very different. Super producer, Bob Ezrin even passed on working on “Come Out And Play”, because he didn’t hear any great songs.

However, the facts are there. The Tom Werman produced “Stay Hungry”, sold over 3 million copies in the U.S alone. The singles, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock” also sold by the truck load and they sounded great on radio, due to special radio mixes that Tom Werman did for them. It’s funny that the song “The Price”, didn’t get the same radio mix and it tanked as a single, even though it is the strongest of all three songs.

In relation to Nikki Sixx and Dee Snider, Werman said the following on Popdose.com;

“There were two individual musicians who had a problem with me in the studio out of about 200 musicians I produced. Nikki Sixx was a friend until he revised history in his book. Dee Snider was a friend, until the Twisted Sister album became a hit, and he couldn’t deal with sharing the credit for its success. Both of these guys were literally back-slapping glad-handers; years later, they soured badly. I had fine relationships with all the other members of those two bands.”

Kix was another band that was critical of Tom Werman. Bassist and band leader, Donnie Purnell hated and distrusted Werman.

George Lynch from Dokken also had a problem with Tom Werman, when Werman requested that he play a better lead break on a particular song. If you believe Don Dokken, George Lynch has an uncontrollable ego. If you believe George Lynch, Don Dokken has an uncontrollable ego. Regardless who you believe, when Lynch was asked to play a better lead break, he had a dummy spit.

And now here are the facts for Dokken’s “Tooth N Nail” and Kix’s “Blow My Fuse”. Both albums on release went to GOLD status within a year. “Tooth N Nai”l was released in 1984 and ended up reaching PLATINUM status in the U.S in 1989 (yep that’s right, four years after its release), after the mega successful “Back For The Attack” album, got people interested in Dokken’s back catalogue. “Back For The Attack” reached PLATINUM status within 2 months of its release date.

“Blow My Fuse” was released on September 12, 1988. By November 2, 1988, seven weeks later, the album was certified GOLD by the RIAA. In May 1989, the single “Don’t Close Your Eyes” was released. By February 5, 1990, eight months later, the single was certified GOLD by the RIAA. Finally, on August 28, 2000, the “Blow My Fuse” album was certified PLATINUM by the RIAA. Yep, that is almost 12 years from when it was released. This is what the artist of today need to take into account. Great music will live on and it will keep on selling for a long time.

However, so many artists and record label executives want the platinum sales with the first release. Dokken’s back catalogue sold well after the mega successful “Back For The Attack” album (their 4th album). Metallica’s back catalogue sold even more, after the mega successful “Black” album (their 5th album). Motley Crue’s back catalogue sold well again after the mega successful “Dr Feelgood” album (their 5th album). However in today’s mindset of profits before creativity, most bands will not get to the fourth or fifth album. Most bands will not have a comeback like Aerosmith or Alice Cooper did in the Eighties. I digress.

Dream Theater, especially Mike Portnoy blasted Dave Prater on the “Images and Words” sessions, however with Prater at the helm, Dream Theater had their biggest album to date. Read the book “Lifting Shadows”. The interviews with Prater are brilliant. The rebuttals of the band members are in some cases subdued but fiery at the same time. Somewhere in between all of the stories is the truth.

Of course, Dream Theater with Dave Prater at the helm have had their most success in relation to album sales. “Images And Words” is the album that Dream Theater is still doing victory laps with in 2013.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Nikki Sixx – What Do You Mean I Don’t Write Good Lyrics?

Nikki Sixx is one of the most active artists there is.  Apart from doing the Motley Crue shows, he does Sixx A.M., he does photography, he has a presence on social media and he does his radio show.  Somewhere in between he finds time to also be a family man.

A few days ago, his mother passed away, and from that tragedy, it got me to go back and listen to the music that Nikki Sixx has created.

Dancing On Glass (1987) from Girls, Girls, Girls

Going way too fast
Gonna burn and crash
Valentine’s in London
Found me in the trash

I’m no puppet
I engrave my veins with style

It is the Mick Mars guitar riff that hooked me first, using the renowned devil tri-tone.  It’s rock ‘n’ evil and  it’s Nikki’s memoir to his heroin addiction.  Life Is Beautiful (2007) from The Heroin Diaries by Sixx A.M. goes a step better (plus the chorus line gives a nice nod to Duran’s Duran’s Come Undone).

 

There’s nothing like a funeral to make you feel alive

How true is that? We complain about our life, sometimes even wishing that we are dead and then when tragedy strikes, we realise how alive we really are.

Find Myself (1997) from Generation Swine and Heart Failure (2007) from The Heroin Diaries from Sixx A.M. explore the addictions of Nikki Sixx with lyrics like “I gotta find myself some drugs, I gotta find some liquid sunshine” and “I miss today I miss the past, I miss my veins ’cause they’ve collapsed.”

However the best song that captures Nikki’s addiction is Girl With Golden Eyes (2007) from The Heroin Diaries by Sixx A.M.

She speaks to me in Persian
Tells me that she loves me
The girl with golden eyes
And though I hardly know her
I let her in my veins
And trust her with my life

I love the heroin and girl romance analogy. Credit also goes to James Michael and DJ Ashba.

On With The Show (1981) from Too Fast For Love

Frankie died just the other night
Some say it was suicide

Nikki has gone on record to say that On With The Show is about him leaving his birth name behind and taking on the Nikki Sixx name.  The reference to Frankie is a reference to himself.

Dr Feelgood (1989) from Dr Feelgood

Cops on the corner always ignore
Somebody’s getting paid
Jimmy’s got it wired, law’s for hire
Got it made in the shade

It’s a movie scene. It paints a picture. It’s Scarface and Jimmy is Al Pacino. Music done right is timeless. Dr Feelgood is timeless and it is Nikki Sixx at his sober best for the first time. 

Primal Scream (1991) from Decade Of Decadence

Broke dick dog
My head slung low
Tail knocked in the dirt
Time and time of being told
Trash is all I’m worth

Primal Scream was rewritten again as Face Down In The Dirt (2008) from Saints Of Los Angeles. 

All I ever heard as a kid was “you’re born to lose”
All I ever wanted was a shot at breakin’ the rules

Stick To Your Guns (1981) from Too Fast For Love is the original Primal Scream. 

You got to stick to your guns
What’s right for you, ain’t right for everyone

What’s It Gonna Take (2008) from Saints Of Los Angeles

So we wrote another song cut a demo on a dime
They didn’t like the sound, we didn’t fit the times
The radio station said “it’s way too loud”

I really like the autobiographical nature of songs.  Down At The Whisky (2008) from Saints Of Los Angeles covers the same theme of the band trying to make it.

We slept all day in our clothes
That’s OK in hollywood
Another shot, another show
All night long at the whisky a-go-go

Poison Apples (1994) from Motley Crue

Took a Greyhound Bus down to Heartattack and Vine with a fistful of dreams and dimes
So far out didn’t know that I was in
Had a taste for a life of slime

When push came to shove, the music was the drug and the band always got to play
Sex, smack, rock, roll, mainline, overdose
Man, we lived it night and day

Poison Apples and Danger also tell the story of the band’s early days.

Danger (1983) from Shout At The Devil

So we took our dreams
Ran like hell
Lived our youth
From the wishing well
Me and the boys
Made a pack
To live or die
No turning back

Then the band finally gets signed and become slaves to the machine with a stiff middle finger raised at all authority.

Welcome To The Machine (2008) from Saints of Los Angeles

 

 

Welcome to the machine
Once it sucks you in you’ll never leave
Grind you up spit you out
After all you’re just a piece of meat
Welcome to the machine

Saints Of Los Angeles (2008) from Saints of Los Angeles

We are…we are the saints
We signed our life away
Doesn’t matter what you think
We’re gonna do it anyway
We are…we are the saints
One day you will confess
And Pray to the saints of Los Angeles.

Home Sweet Home (1985) from Theatre Of Pain

 

Just one more night
And I’m comin’ off this
Long & winding road

Every band that spends a lot of time on the road ends up writing a song about the road.  Bob Seger did it with Turn The Page, Bon Jovi did it with Wanted Dead or Alive, Motley Crue did it with Home Sweet Home and the unreleased track Rodeo from the Girls, Girls, Girls sessions.

Rodeo (1987) from Girls, Girls, Girls

Another day, another night on stage
Lights go down, time to turn the page
Was this all I ever wanted to be
Six hundred miles, the highway calls
Another long day, now the hours get small
Riding out this rock n roll rodeo

No accolade to Nikki Sixx would be complete without reference to his favourite topic, SEX.

Girls, Girls, Girls (1987) from Girls, Girls, Girls

I got the photos, a menage a trois

Ten Seconds To Love (1983) from Shout At The Devil

Bring a girlfriend
Maybe bring two I got my camera
Make a star outta you
Let’s inject it
Photograph it

It’s like Nikki new that Tommy Lee and Vince Neil would end up in their own sex tapes.  That’s what happens when you have keepsakes.

Punched In The Teeth By Love (2000) from New Tattoo

Construction work it’s silicone
Lights are on but no one’s home (wow)
She’s painted blue like a cartoon
Every man in town went on the honeymoon

I really like the cartoonish vibe in this song.  The lyrics are witty and funny.  Was Nikki referencing Pamela Anderson.

THEN comes the new Holy Bible, Nikki Sixx style.

Wild Side (1987) from Girls, Girls, Girls is Save Our Souls part 2. 

Kneel down ye sinners, to
Streetwise religion
Greed’s been crowned the new King
Hollywood dream teens
Yesterday’s trash queens
Save the blessings for the final ring-
AMEN

Save Our Souls (1985) from Theatre of Pain

Black Angels laughing in the city streets
Street toys scream in pain and clench their teeth
The moonlight spot lights all the city crime
Got no religion, Laugh while they fight

Save our souls for the heavens
For a life so good it sure feels bad
Save our souls for the heavens
Save our souls for the promised land

Sure Feels Right (2011) from This Is Gonna Hurt by Sixx A.M.

I’m driving down Sunset Boulevard,
Sex Pistols on the radio in my car,
And I must be high,
I just saw Jesus walk by.

Again, a picture is painted with these four lines.  I can relate. I can’t even recall how many times I have seen Jesus look a likes among the homeless.  Oh My God covers this theme even better.

Oh My God (2011) from The Heroin Diaries by Sixx A.M.

And we sit in our highrise apartments and complain about things that don’t matter,
And we race through this life just to see who can die with as much as we can gather,
And a few blocks away a teenage mother plays Russian Roulette with her daughter,
Is this the best that we can do, is this the best that we can do.

We focus on all the wrong things.  Nikki even eluded to it, in his recent Facebook posts.

Thank you for all the supportive posts here and on Twitter about the passing of my Mom.Her and my grandfather Tom’s recent passing is a gentle reminder of how fragile time is and a not so gentle sledgehammer to the heart that non of us get out of this life alive.If your wasting time procrastinating on anything trust me when I say “You’ll be sorry”.

I waited too long after a rocky road with my mother to try and rebuild the broken fence’s.You can never get time back.We all make mistakes and that was mine…..Again,thank you because it reminds me reading your posts how much we’re all alike…….

And of course that post, reminded me of a song that was released by the Brides of Destruction.

Life (2004) from Here Comes The Brides by Brides of Destruction

This is life this is it
It’s not everything you want
It’s everything you get believe it
It’s not worth leaving
Yeah this is life once again
It’s been knocking at your door
You ought to let it in
Don’t waste it it’s time you faced it

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